UFC Vegas Aftermath: Boogie Man of the Welterweight Division

#UFCVegas Aftermath: Boogie Man of the Welterweight Division #mma

The Apex is host of all the Contender Series fights. Now, the UFC has held their most recent event there and with a 25 foot cage, we were blessed an action-packed night of fights. Even the decisions were slobberknockers. So without further adieu, welcome to the newest episode of Aftermath, UFC Vegas edition.

Chris Gutierrez Put on a Leg Kick Clinic

Next opponent for Chris Gutierrez: Martin Day, Geraldo de Feritas

Chris Gutierrez absolutely mangled the leg of Vince Morales. With a very rare leg kick finish, the 11th in UFC history. There was not a moment where Gutierrez was not in control of his fight at UFC Vegas. Not only did Gutierrez go out and dominate, he showed he’s a completely improved fighter from just his last fight out at UFC Montevideo.

As for the future for Gutierrez, I’m ready to see him against the same type of competition. Martin Day and Gutierrez were scheduled to fight at UFC Nashville last year before Day was injured. Having those two go at it would be an absolute blast to watch and could be that last fight that Gutierrez needs to really nail down his gameplan.

The second fight would be a rematch with Geraldo de Freitas. de Freitas was scheduled to face Jack Shore at UFC London before it was canceled due to COVID-19. Now he’s looking for another fight. The last fight was a split decision in 2019. It’s time to lay it to rest and see who is truly the better fighter. We know Gutierrez can bring it. We know de Freitas can bring it. Let’s just put them in the Apex cage again for scientific purposes.

The UFC Made Terrible Matchmaking for Chookagian-Shevchenko at UFC Vegas

Next opponent for Antonina Shevchenko: Montana de la Rosa, Maycee Barber

Antonina Shevchenko was incredibly out of her league at UFC Vegas, and it’s the UFC’s fault. There was no way possible the two should have been matched up at this point in both fighter’s careers. We already knew wrestling was her weakness from the Roxanne Modafferi fight. Chookagian was a recipe for disaster from the get. Shevchenko had no real opportunity to get off any offense, whatsoever.

One good matchup for Shevchenko would be Montana de la Rosa. de la Rosa fought in February, a fight she won. de la Rosa also has a great ground game as well but not on the level of Modafferi or Chookagian. While Shevchenko has time to heal up, it’s probably on her to-do list to work on take down defense all together. the de la Rosa fight would be a good test to see how she’s progressed.

If we’re looking at a standup fight for Shevchenko to give her even more takedown defense time, Maycee Barber is your girl. This fight would be between two prospects that have a bright future in the division. For Shevchenko, it would give her the opportunity to show off her striking and a little shine. For Barber, it sets up the eventual Valentina Shevchenko fight she might as well be gifted in the future.

Next opponent for Katlyn Chookagian: Jessica Eye, Roxanne Modafferi

Katlyn Chookagian was basically gifted a win at UFC Vegas. After being completely dominated by Valentina Shevchenko for three rounds, the UFC seemed amused to let Chookagian fight the other Shevchenko sister, this time with a grudge. Chookagian didn’t really gain much clout on this fight, to be honest. She should have beaten Antonina convincingly. Not to her fault, however, this is all matchmaking. Chookagian was completely dominated by Valentina and a rematch is out of the cards for a while.

Valentina aside, Jessica Eye was the last person to beat Chookagian. Eye is also a former title contender, losing to Valentina. Chookagian and Eye fought in 2018 which was a split decision. Both fighters have improved since then and would be a great test to see who is the better fighter now.

Roxanne Modafferi is looking for that next level as well. Modafferi has very good wrestling and is coming off a big upset versus Maycee Barber. Seeing Modafferi get that chance to earn her number one contender spot against Chookagian would be a great example of matchmaking, making up for the bad matchmaking the UFC did in Chookagian’s last fight.

KNEEBAR ALERT: Mackenzie Dern

Next opponent fort Mackenzie Dern: Virna Jandiroba, Ribas/VanZant loser

The matchup between Hannah Cifers and Mackenzie Dern was really good matchmaking by the UFC. Cifers is really good on the feet, she’s fast and crisp. We all know Dern is an incredible Brazilian jiu jitsu player, so her standup was always in question. Cifers gave Dern hell in the first part of round one, clinching against the cage and battering up Dern. Once Dern broke free, she started letting her hands fly. I will say, Mackenzie Dern showed fantastic improvement standing up at UFC Vegas. Her last fight was a loss to Amanda Ribas at UFC Tampa. It was a standup clinic from Ribas. Now, Dern has seemingly taken a lot of time to improve her striking and hopefully will continue to do so.

Dern is now 8-1 and it is time for a science experiment. Virna Jandiroba is also very good at Brazilian jiu jitsu. Let’s see who is better, yeah? Both are coming off of a win and a win for either over the other really would push them in the right direction for a shot at a ranked opponent fight.

If we are really trying to push Mackenzie Dern to the fans, we need to get her with more high profile names. None bigger in the women’s division than Paige VanZant, who we did an MMA Mathematics piece on how big of a draw she is. VanZant is fighting Amanda Ribas on July 11th. The winner will move on to bigger and better things. But the loser will be looking for a rebound. If VanZant loses, she would be a prime opportunity to fight Dern and bolster her name against the ever popular VanZant. Should Ribas lose, she just fought VanZant and will likely have more eyes on her as well. It’s a win-win for the UFC and Mackenzie Dern.

Gilbert Burns is the Welterweight Division’s Boogie Man

Next opponent for Tyron Woodley: Kelvin Gastelum, Michael Chiesa

For the first time in his career, Tyron Woodley is coming off of a second straight loss. Woodley never really got going against Gilbert Burns either. He struggled with the pace against Burns. Woodley said he was in the best shape of his life, and at 38 and seeing that performance, it is hard to believe that. Woodley said on Helwani’s show that he planned a move up to 185 soon, and now might be that time to make one last run.

In 2015, Woodley fought Kelvin Gastelum, a split decision win. Now, Gastelum has found new life at 185. If Woodley is looking for that jump, Gastelum would be a good opponent. He’s not cutting that much weight and wouldn’t destroy Woodley like Usman did with relentless pressure and wrestling.

Second option would be Michael Chiesa. Chiesa is coming off of a big win over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Raleigh. He’s looked good since moving up to 170 with wins over dos Anjos, Diego Sanchez, and Carlos Condit, a who’s who of the early 2000’s. Woodley would be good to fight one more at 170 to gain his confidence back and try his hand at another win. Chiesa would benefit greatly from beating another great 170er, adding his name to the bloated list of really good welterweights.

Next opponent for Gilbert Burns: whoever Usman does not fight, Kamaru Usman

Gilbert Burns made yet another statement at UFC Vegas. After putting away Demian Maia at UFC Brasilia in March, Burns made it known yet again that he is a big player at welterweight. He has relentless pressure much like champion, Kamaru Usman, and Colby Covington possesses. But what makes Burns threat is he brings power for five rounds and his Jiu Jitsu is on another level. This is one guy that I expect a lot of the top guys of the division to avoid.

There is a log jam of contenders at the top of the welterweight division. With Kamaru Usman the champ, he has a smorgasbord of options to fight next. There’s the rematch with Colby Covington and fights with Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards. Usman is likely to fight one of those guys, my money is on Masvidal. Burns will probably get one of those guys. At this point, there’s no telling which one if we are being honest. Someone will be left out for sure, and it will suck.

If all three of those options don’t work for Usman or they want to play games in negotiation, the UFC could give the title shot to Burns after the performance he’s had at UFC Brasilia and UFC Vegas. One thing is for sure, whoever Burns fights next, it will be an incredible fight and he will bring his all.

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Blaine Henry

Just your friendly neighborhood fight fan!

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